2016, a year of many changes

I had hoped to write my summary of 2016 earlier but this new year has already thrown up it’s own set of challenges already, more on that later…

So if you’ve followed this blog in any way you will know the main purpose of this blog is to document my recovery from an adverse reaction to Ciprofloxacin, something that has left me with quite serious physical issues which have had a major impact on my life over the last year or so. I was prescribed the “medicine” (I use that term loosely) as a precaution as the consultant suspected a prostate infection. That was May 2015, I reacted badly to the drugs I took within days! The months passed and I had hoped that I was recovering from the adverse reaction, that was until I took a single Ibuprofen tablet to help with a headache, a drug I later discovered was compromised with Ciprofloxacin. That was December 2015…

So January 2o16 started with me having leg problems, specifically muscle problems in my left calf. Within the first 2 weeks of January the symptoms started to increase with additional musculoskeletal problems, joints popping and cracking, tightness in muscles all over, burning sensations, aches, numbness, tinnitus, blurry vision and much more followed. So began the main story of 2016, my ill health due to medicine that was supposed to make me well. For the next few months I struggled to walk far at all, restricted to getting around the house mainly. My partner Caroline would take me out for fresh air and I’d sometimes manage a short walk of maybe 10 minutes or so before having to stop. This condition has aged me, not by a small amount, but by a huge amount, physically and mentally. I had rapid muscle and connective tissue degradation leading to constant pains and weakness. My skin aged in a month as the collagen seemed to simply be sucked out of my body. Bearing in mind that collagen makes up the bulk of connective tissues it was obvious my body was going to deteriorate and it did.

As the year progressed I had a cycle of better days and worse, sometimes feeling 75% better only to be back to 5% a day later. The condition is relentless, eating away at your confidence, your happiness and your soul as your mental strength is tested over and over. I had a lot of low periods when depression wrapped itself around me and life became something I could no longer see much point in. I had a 6 week episode of gout, incredibly painful and which left me with on-going problems in my right foot. I couldn’t plan for much because I never knew if I’d be ok to do it. As the year progressed I realised I had to continue to live otherwise life would simply pass me by. All the things I like to do and events I like to attend are not going to stop until I’m well again so I decided not to be the victim and to try and do as much as I could, sometimes too much as I discovered on occasion. However activities I had hoped to do had to be put on hold, not riding my motorcycles, no kayaking, no running, nothing physical at all.

I was lucky in that via another floxed friend I found a consultant that at least acknowledged FQ damage and was willing to work with me to see what could be done if anything. The reality was that pretty much all my tests came back normal or near normal. An EMG did show some nerve damage and my back MRI done late 2016 showed some significant disc bulging on 3 discs, 2 of which are affecting nearby nerves and would at least explain some of my pains and weakness. FQ Toxicity is known to deplete collagen and connective tissues and it’s very possible the discs were damaged by the same process, making them weaker and prone to bulge.

So at the end of 2016 my health was only slightly better than it had been almost a year earlier. Some of the weird symptoms have reduced but the most debilitating ones that affect my joints, muscles etc.. are not much better. My vision is worse and some days the eyes feel blurry and tired all day. Focusing on small text or detail has seen a massive decrease in ability and I hope that’s a temporary problem. My sleep pattern is up and down but I would say generally improved, I still don’t get enough quality sleep but it was terrible earlier in the year when I would sometimes be awake all night.

So what else happened in 2016? Well we got a gorgeous cat we named Luna (because of our Interest in anything astronomical). Sadly that didn’t go so well as she was diagnosed with ringworm right after we got her and ended up with months of treatment and confinement. It was not the stress you need when you’re already unwell. But we didn’t give up and just when we had the all clear from ringworm she became ill again with something called FIP, an incurable illness. Broken hearted we tried everything but alas she passed away just after new year, only a few weeks back. She was with us a short time, but it felt like forever and it really did devastate us.

We didn’t manage a holiday last year, I couldn’t manage it and we were dealing with the sick cat anyway but we did get out for a few events on my better days. Walks at Sandringham on a sunny day, even if they were very short! Cinema trips, always something we enjoy, a little escape from the real world which if we are honest is pretty depressing at the moment. We went to the Country to Country music festival in March, something that really challenged me as my health was pretty bad at the time but we still enjoyed it. later in the year we went to Bluedot as a last minute thing and enjoyed a couple of days of music and science with like minded folk. Again it was a real challenge but I did it and I was pleased to have done so even if the 2 day event resulted in a number of weeks of recovery. We did other things that broke the underlying stresses through the year but the health and cat issues really did overshadow things on the whole.

2016 was a tough year… for me the loss of many influences on my life from the music, film, tv and sciences only reinforced that I’m getting older. The unbelievable results of the Brexit vote and US elections completely evaporated my faith in the society I live in which seems to have become uncaring and selfish. I really dread the world todays younger generations will inherit… polluted, war torn, isolationist, uncaring and intolerant are just some of the words I’d use to describe how things are becoming.

Hoping 2017 offers more hope, better health and happier times!

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8 thoughts on “2016, a year of many changes

  1. “for me the loss of many influences on my life from the music, film, tv and sciences only reinforced that I’m getting older. The unbelievable results of the Brexit vote and US elections completely evaporated my faith in the society I live in which seems to have become uncaring and selfish”—-couldn’t have said it better. All so difficult in any time and especially for those of us who have had to endure being floxed… good to hear of some improvements and I hope this year proves a real game changer for you

  2. Life must go on – that’s the message I’m hearing from you Chris. You’re an inspiration mate, and from what I read, you ARE recovering. It’s just 2 steps forward, and that maddening 1 step back. But definitely forward.

    • It’s a slow and winding road we follow with no map and no idea of the destination. My biggest concern is the damage to connective tissues, joints, tendons, muscles and of course internal organs. For now my blood work is pretty decent but still I suffer with debilitating leg and muscle issues and constant pain. I have little strength in my arms, back, legs you name it. The slightest exertion causes my muscles to creams Ndola spasm. Lifting very light weight such as a bag of shopping causes what feels like tearing or sharp pin prick pains in my shoulders and back etc… the collagen has clearly been depleted in my body to a point where all these things are wide spread but I have no idea how to counter that and what I can actually hope to regain. I’m doing my best to carry on living but with so many things off limits due to potential damage it’s making life highly restricted! But I’ll keep trying to put that one foot in front of the other 🙂

  3. Hey mate,

    Just finished reading your update and there’s a few points I want to comment on.

    First off, I still can’t believe that a single Ibuprofen tablet sent you into this spiral. The reason I say that is because the exact same thing happened to me. A single Advil tablet that I took for a headache set off the equivalent of a nuclear bomb in my body. Prior to the Advil, I too was slowly recovering from the first set of antibiotics, then along came the second incident and it was nearly game over from there. I think it’s quite eerie how you and I were both knocked off our feet by the antibiotics via Ibuprofen.

    Secondly, I share your sentiments on the physical and mental anguish. It can be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel sometimes. Like you though, I don’t want life to pass me by so for the first time in two years, I’m starting to make some plans for the future. I’ve already had to cancel two trips (Africa in 2015 and Netherlands in 2017) both of which have cost me hundreds of dollars in lost flights, hotels, etc. That said, I refuse to let this condition stop me and I’ll be trying again in the near future.

    You’ve pretty much nailed the state of the world with your closing remarks. That’s the world we currently live in. I see it in person and I see it through the lens of the media. Like you, I sometimes wonder what kind of world my niece and nephew will grow up in. Will there even be a world for them to grow in? We live in a mad world with mad people. Doctors who’s sold their soul to the devil, pharmaceutical drug makers who are knowingly poisoning the global population for the sake of profit, food producers and mega food companies who are doing the same but with our food supply and last but not least, governments who are experimenting on us without our approval. These are not conspiracy theories, these are the realities we live with in the 21st century.

    Difficult time to be a human being (or any other form of life for that matter) but what other choice is there?

    Anyway let’s just keep going in our fight to get better and enjoy what we can of this experience we call Life.

    Oh, and I’m sorry to hear about Luna’s passing. 😦

    -Lukasz

    • I am curious about your trips…if they require any kinds of shots. I am so leery of any pharmaceuticals at this point. For the first time in years, I did not get a flu shot last year or the year before (and will never again.)

      You said it so heart-breakingly perfectly: “We live in a mad world with mad people. Doctors who’s sold their soul to the devil, pharmaceutical drug makers who are knowingly poisoning the global population for the sake of profit, food producers and mega food companies who are doing the same but with our food supply and last but not least, governments who are experimenting on us without our approval. These are not conspiracy theories, these are the realities we live with in the 21st century.”

      I am currently involved with a committee who organized our own little (although 3000 showed up!) march on the same day as the women’s march. Ours was a “justice for all march” and we are already starting to make a difference locally. So much to work on: healthcare, womens rights, racial equality and justice, income equality, the environment….everyone needs to get involved and do what they can.

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